Title: Spider’s Lullaby
Author: James R. Tuck
Genre: Dark Urban Fantasy
Series: Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty-Hunter (Novella 1.5)
Publication Date: June 26, 2012
Format: eNovella, 79 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-0758280640 (Kensington)
Reviewed by: Sheila
He lives to kill monsters. He keeps his city safe. And his silver hollow-points and back-from-the-dead abilities take out any kind of unnatural threat. But between this bad-ass bounty hunter and rescuing the most helpless of victims stands the one evil he can’t defeat…
For Deacon Chalk, loyalty is worth dying for. And now that something has taken were-spider Charlotte’s un-hatched children and one of his closest friends, he’ll tear up the human and supernatural underworlds to find them. But with his allies stripped away by an invincible Yakuza hit man and time running out, Deacon must face down the most ancient of demonic entities. And his last hope means surrendering to the inner darkness waiting hungrily to consume him…
Quick & Dirty: Big bad monster killer rushing to the rescue not only for one of his employees, but to also stop a hoard of potentially lethal spiders. Another great short story starring my favorite Occult Bounty Hunter, Deacon Chalk.
Opening Sentence: Charlotte’s front door was open.
Deacon Chalk, Occult Bounty Hunter, is back and on the hunt. Someone has messed with his people and he is not a man that will stand for that kind of crap. With the help of an irresistible lady, a were-spider, a former dragon, and his trusty Desert Eagle .357, Deacon must find his friend’s stolen egg sac full of her children before they hatch. If they are unsuccessful, carnage will reign supreme in Deacon’s little corner of the world. Can they save everyone in time? And who in their right mind would do such a thing in the first place? Whoever it is behind all of this had better say their prayers because Deacon is the last man they will piss off ever again.
As usual, James R. Tuck delivers another fantastic new Deaconverse short story in Spider’s Lullaby. Deacon Chalk is a big bad mofo that is severely protective of those he lets into his inner circle; those he considers his. It is this trait that has led him into the job he now thrives in as an occult bounty hunter. It also happens to be the reason I love this character so much. When he lost his family to supernatural violence so many years ago, Deacon was forever changed. This loss has shaped his personality more than any other singular event in his life. Now, he does everything in his power to make sure that what he’s endured doesn’t have to happen to another human being.
The story in itself is great. Wait, that is not descriptive enough. Spider’s Lullaby is a Do-Not-Be-Disturbed-While-Reading, eBook crushing, no-holds-barred tension inducing, Why-Oh-Why-Is-This-So-Short taste of the Deaconicity that leaves me twitching for more. Ah, that’s a little closer to how I feel. Anyway, there are lots of snarky remarks and cool fight scenes to enjoy; very Deacon-typical. The new things that pop up are the relationship between Deacon and Tiff and a new and very hungry weapon. Tiff was introduced in the last book. She is all human and delicate. Since she has joined up with Deacon, Tiff has moved from being a victim to learning how to defend and attack otherworldly creatures. The feelings Deacon has developed for Tiff — he is not in the least bit comfortable with. His heart is still buried with his family, even though Tiff looks to be resurrecting his long-dead softer emotions. Though they are not together in that way, they do share a connection that is reflected in this story.
The sword is something all-together different. Without going into too many details, the weapon in question seems very dangerous in the wrong hands. Now that it is in Deacon’s, what will it do? Will it influence Deacon? Can he find a way to destroy it without releasing the Oni within? I hope this little introduction is more explored in the next installment of the series.
Overall, this short story can be enjoyed as a standalone, but I would not recommend it. Mostly, I think that, to truly appreciate the coolness that is Deacon Chalk, you must read the full book. This particular story seems to me as more of a teaser for those more familiar with Deacon Chalk and his cohorts. It relates more of the craziness and, let’s face it, appeal of Mr. Tuck’s amazing and dark new world.
The person who took her had no idea the wrath that I was going to rain down upon them if she was hurt in any way.
Ronnie was my employee.
Ronnie was my friend.
Ronnie was mine.
The people I let into my life are few and far between. If someone does make it inside, then I have a damn good reason for letting them. Ronnie was one of those people. I had claimed her the moment I had rescued her. She was mine. Mine to protect and, if need be, mine to avenge.
Back to work.
The Deacon Chalk: Occult Bounty-Hunter Series:
1.5 Spider’s Lullaby
FTC Advisory: The author graciously provided a copy of Spider’s Lullaby. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review. The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.
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